With its apparent successful launch Wednesday of a satellite into orbit, North Korea showed off an improving weapons program that Washington and its allies have struggled so far to curb, despite heavy international sanctions.
Analysts said the North poses a growing security risk that is increasingly difficult to punish. Pyongyang’s family-run government is already cut off economically from almost every country but China. United Nations sanctions have made it more difficult for the North to launder its illicit money, import its luxury goods and acquire some weapons materials. But U.N. sanctions and bans have not stifled North Korean missile launches, nuclear tests or weapons trades.